Sunday, April 5, 2009

Late Readers

On one of the AO yahoo groups, there's been a recent discussion on early reading skills. I thought I would post here my response as it may help some of you with late readers.

I just want to share an experience on not stressing about the reading. I know there are some children out there who are quite eager to be reading at 3. However, for a lot of kids, this is a completely unreasonable expectation. Before finding CM, I had unreasonable expectations.

My oldest son has autism. He's what many would refer to as high functioning. I had been working with him on learning his letters since he was about 4. We worked on letter sounds. We spent a whole year just doing ma, me, mi, mo, mu type nonsense. (which it did help eventually, but anyway...) I finally, through doing some online research, discovered Better Late Than Early. I believe that book does discuss some researched negatives on early reading, but I'm not positive as it's been a few years since I've looked at it.

From that book I learned to relax. We even took a whole year off doing 'school' when my son was about 8-9. I was a little freaked out about doing that, but it helped in so many ways. We learned to relax with each other. I learned it wasn't the end of the world that he wasn't reading yet.

After the year off, we picked up on some simple reading again. Cvc words. We spent another year on cat, hat, mat, etc. Again before CM. I was muddling my way through.

My son learned to read when he was 10. He now reads beautifully. More than that, he understands what he reads. He reads for fun. I have to force him to leave books in the van when we go in stores. He chooses books that I would think are above his reading level, but he reads them anyway. He would really love it if he could read Treasure Island, but it looks too overwhelming to him right now (and rightly so for his developmental level). We were walking through goodwill the other week and he was reading aloud from a book he found there about Pearl Harbor. A lady stopped me and asked what grade he was and then stated that her granddaughter (2 years ahead of him) can't read that well. He also reads by changing voices with the characters. You should hear his Pharaoh voice! (we're reading Exodus right now)

My point in all this is to assure you that it will come. There's no medal that one gets for learning to read by a certain age. One should learn to enjoy reading, not because it's one more chore on the list of life achievements.

We still have a lot of things to work on. Spelling, writing, etc. but I've seen that time has nothing to do with it. Children will learn when they are ready and then they will learn it well. I've even seen this happen in other areas like learning to tie shoes or riding a bike.

That's the take of this mother of a special needs child. I wish I had known about CM all those years ago. I do know now and as we continue to work through the AO years, I will continue to enjoy the progress my son makes as he's ready.

And just fyi, we started Year 1 this past year at age 10.


T. said...

I so agree with you! My son was diagnosed with HFA when he was in 1st grade. I brought him home to school the next year. Over the years, his reading got better, but it didn't click until 8 or so. He still isn't a prolific reader, but he does read now.

My 7 yr old daughter was diagnosed last year. She is just now starting to read, but I know she will pick it up soon. I just need to let her go at her pace.

Funny, my now 15 yr old daughter, who has Asperger tendencies, read at 3. They are all so different.

Found you through aut-2B-home. I will be back.

Send Chocolate

Blessed Mommy said...

Thanks for this wonderful post. My son will turn 7 yrs old in May. He is really just starting to read and very slowly at that. I think he is a reading machine, others might not. I have family, neighbors, and some friends whose children were reading at 4 yrs. Sometimes I think I was judged because I didn't push reading with my son at that young of an age too. I really didn't focus on reading til this past Fall and we took many breaks. If something frustrated him, we set it down for a week or two and when I thought he was ready to try again, we gave it a go. I wanted my son to enjoy being a child, outdoors as much as possible. I knew reading will come. My son loves our reading time together now, we only spend about 15 minutes a day on his reading, but much longer with me reading wonderful stories to him. I think as parents we know when our child is ready. I love homeschooling for that and many other reasons. Many blessings.

teachingmom08 said...

This was such and encouraging post for me. I have my ups and downs from time to time, I think mainly because I get torn between traditional schooling and homeschooling methods. I see and appreciate the less formal ways of HS'ing but have deeply ingrained public school tendancies. In anycase, the time and patience you have put forth on your son is well worth it for the great results you are getting. I'm proud that you follow your own path with educating your son despite of the way some others may do things. It has obviosly paid off for you. I've learned something today. Thanks.